Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

This funny season

The miserable cool and wet weather that has plagued Britain for the last six weeks has not spared France. The season is still advanced, but not as much as it might have been.  The bunches on my own little Sauvignon Blanc vines are nevertheless nearer to ripeness that I’ve seen in twenty years. The consequence for commercial growers of Vin de pays Charentais – the nearest are 20 minutes drive to the west of us – is that the rain swelled the berries. My vines unusually, are free from mildew, and so are the commercial vines, but rot is becoming a concern, especially for thinner-skinned varieties. The crop still looks large.

In Gascony last weekend the crop seemed very healthy indeed – not a hint of problems, but again, the berries were large.

I supect that 2011 may just turn out to be a large, healthy, not terribly concentrated vintage in much of south west France. I doubt this prospect will bring much joy to the good folk of Bordeaux. But the weather might change … a few weeks of cool, bright, dessicating sunshine with brisk breezes might do the quality trick – but who apart from wine growers would thanks their lucky stars for that? It is indeed turning out to be a funny old season.

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